Home News Knicks avoid trap game with second-half comeback against Nets

Knicks avoid trap game with second-half comeback against Nets

The Knicks entered Friday’s matchup against the crosstown rival Nets with all the signs on Eighth Ave. signaling a good ole fashioned NBA trap game.

Current starting center Isaiah Hartenstein was sidelined due to injury management for his left Achilles tendinopathy. Miles “Deuce” McBride was out due to illness. And after traveling home from Boston for the second game of a back-to-back, Tom Thibodeau’s team came out extremely flat while trailing by as many as 17 points in the first half.

The Nets looked destined to foil the Knicks’ chances to secure the Eastern Conference No. 2 seed.

Then the home team woke up. It won the third quarter, 30-13, with an offense that looked much closer to the attack that neutralized the No. 1 seed Celtics a night prior. It eventually led to a 111-107 victory over the Nets.

Josh Hart knocked down a buzzer-beating 28-footer to shrink the lead to 12 at halftime.

The shot might’ve energized OG Anunoby, who ended the first half scoreless while shooting 0-for-5 from the field. His third quarter began with 10 quick points that included a dunk over Brooklyn’s Trendon Watford’s head. That jam cut the deficit to five with over 10 minutes remaining.

The second jam, assisted on a Jalen Brunson pass, occurred on a fastbreak with 9:57 remaining in the period and forced Nets interim head coach Kevin Ollie to call timeout.

The double-digit lead vanished in minutes. And just like that — trap game avoided.

Brunson looked like his usual self at the point of attack. He utilized in-and-out moves to break down the defense and create open threes for himself. He went 3-for-7 (10 points) in the third quarter, including two treys while assisting on five makes.

Anunoby shot a near perfect 6-for-7 (15 points) in the third after his scoreless first half.

The surge eventually put the Knicks up seven at the end of the third. The Nets got within one in the fourth, but stops down the stretch kept Brooklyn at bay.

Then Brunson, the usual suspect, iced the game on a 10-foot jumper to put his team up five with 28 seconds remaining. He later heard MVP chants from the home crowd as he knocked down both free throws with 11.6 remaining in regulation.

The wild comeback gave the Knicks a 4-0 regular-season sweep over their crosstown rivals.


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